It was a Friday. I was already a week and a half past my due date that I had outlined in gold on my calendar (because that's what you do when it's your first baby and you naively think you're going to have it on THE day)....huge and miserable.
Stop laughing....it was my first baby, and I didn't realize that you shouldn't trust your raging hormones and get your hair all cut off just days before the birth of your first child. Lesson learned.
And perhaps someone should have told me that horizontal stripes weren't flattering at 9 months pregnant.....what was I thinking???
Okay....you can quit laughing now.
The day began like any other day....me trying to HOIST myself up and out of a water bed. (Geez.....remember those things???) And if you've never experienced being nine months pregnant on a water bed....then there is no way I can describe the roll-grab-the-edge-then-PUSH-up-with-your-hands-on-the-edge routine. I feel confident it wasn't pleasant to watch either.
But I quickly realized that something was different about that day. I just didn't feel well. The doctor had already told me that if I had not had the baby by the following Monday, that they would probably induce me. I quickly called my mom in St. Louis (which is 12 hours from where I live), and given the fact that I wasn't feeling well, she decided to go ahead and fly down. (She'd had four babies herself, and could probably sense that I was in early stages of labor but I just didn't know it.) We'd hoped and prayed that somehow it would work out for her to get here in time for the delivery.....but living that far away....timing that perfectly was not easy.
I had already promised Mable that I would make a quick run to Wal-Mart with her and out to lunch, but once at the store, I realized I shouldn't have gone. Having to stop in the middle of the aisles for what I now know were contractions....was not a good thing.
By the time Darwin got home from work, I was hurting...but so excited. Contractions were five minutes apart, mama was on her way down, bag was packed, we were heading to the hospital. (Because that's what they tell you in those childbirth classes - wait until they're five minutes apart.)
It was the night of the local Christmas parade and though only minutes from the hospital, we had to be strategic in our route to get there....so as not to be held up by the parade. Darwin wasn't too keen on the idea of delivering the baby himself....and how were we to know how long this process was really going to take??? No need to be worried....but we didn't realize that.
Once at the hospital, everything we rehearsed in our "tour of the birthing center" went as expected. That is...until the nurse informs me that I am maybe 1 cm., and I should go home.
Ummm....did she just say home? Are you kidding me???? This was not how it was suppose to go. Nope....they didn't say anything about that in those classes. My contractions were steadily coming at 5 min. apart, and she was sending me home? AND she was giving me a pill that if it wasn't really labor, would make me sleep?
Sigh. Talk about a let down. And it only got worse from there. That would be the first of three....yes I said three trips to the hospital through the night. My contractions steadily got worse and as close as 2 minutes apart, and still.....nothing. My plans of a "completely natural" delivery without any drugs or an epidural were quickly waning, and I wasn't even admitted into the hospital!
Mama's flight came in....she got there around midnight. And by 6a.m. the next morning...either the hospital got tired of sending me home, or they figured if they didn't keep me, Darwin was going to be asked to be admitted himself.
I'm not kidding.
It wasn't pretty. I was miserable. Nothing was going like my "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book said it would. No one ever told me that you could labor all night and not be progressing. I was already exhausted.
And I will spare you the awful details of what turned out to be 36 hours of labor from start to finish. Including, but not limited to 3 hours of pushing.....
All to deliver that 9lb. 12oz. baby girl. (she was the smallest of my four children).
(Check out those glasses...circa 1992) Hey...if you can laugh at my pictures, it's only fair to get a good laugh at the proud daddy too!!!
I know....can you believe she's a newborn in the hospital??? No one could believe this was a hospital picture!!!
That was 18 years ago today.
And now...just look at her......
Where has the time gone, Kaleigh? How was I to know that not only would you be my longest, most difficult delivery....but that I would learn so many things about motherhood because of you.
It's not easy being the first child.
It's also not easy parenting your first child. Everything is a first. I have made plenty of mistakes over the years, I'm sure....but we are so proud of the young lady that you have become. God has had His hand on your life ever since you were conceived, and we cannot wait to see where this next phase of your life will take you.
Happy 18th Birthday, Kaleigh!!! We love you!!!
I'm just sayin'.